Using Tell & Spell in the School Setting

Using Tell and Spell in a School Setting

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The six levels in the Tell & Spell online word games are designed to foster enthusiasm for learning new words and improving overall spelling ability. This process has four steps, where information about words is given, and the pupil must guess the word and spell it correctly. 

Step 1 - Tells the Pupil About the Type of Word

In Level 1 pupils are informed that the word is a ‘person, place, animal or thing’; or a ‘word that describes’; or an ‘action word’. From Levels 2 to 6 words are introduced as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

This information will assist pupils in building awareness about the different parts of language and will assist in using words in their proper context.

Step 2 - Tells the Pupil How Many Letters are in the Word and the First Letter

This helps to focus the mental search within a specific range. In the process a lot of words are examined and recalled from memory. It will also assist the pupil to arrive at the correct spelling of the word in step 4.

Step 3 - Tells the Pupil the Meaning of the Word

This will narrow down the search, and words will be examined and re-examined.

Combined with the information given in steps 1 and 2, a deeper understanding of words is developed. Vocabulary is challenged and improved.

Step 4 - Asks the Pupil to Spell the Word

With the information from steps 2 and 3, pupils must attempt to spell the word correctly.


  • Pupils should be matched to the level that meets their current abilities and the next levels should be used to encourage expansion of their vocabulary over time.


  • Problem solving skills are also developed as pupils come to realise that they must address all 4 steps listed above in order to select the correct word.

Further Develop Language Skills

Use our ‘Building Word Awareness’ Template (download for free below) on your classroom whiteboard, or print blank copies for your students to fill in. Choose some words from your class level and use them to further strengthen your students’ receptive and expressive language skills.  

Top Tips for Using the Template:

  • Provide your students with a ‘target word’.
  • Encourage them to tell you the meaning of the word. Older children can use a dictionary to look up the word. Encourage them to write the definition in their own words. This will help them remember its meaning.
  • Discuss the different parts of speech. Is the word a noun, verb, adjective, adverb? Older children can engage in further discussion about word knowledge. Discuss prefixes, suffixes, plurals, root words etc.
  • Discuss if a word can be used as both a noun, adjective and so on. For example, the word ‘sweet’ is both a noun and an adjective.
  • Are there any synonyms for the target word? Synonyms are words that have the same or nearly the same meaning e.g. big/huge/enormous/colossal.
  • In level 1, there are also opportunities to discuss antonyms (opposite word pairs such as hot/cold, wet/dry etc.)
  • Put the target word into a sentence to further strengthen expressive language skills.


Tell and Spell in a School Setting | Building Word Awareness template example

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